Wednesday, May 22, 2024

120m fishing net found in marine reserve

DOC is investigating after a 120-metre long fishing net was found in Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve on 2 February by a DOC ranger.

DOC’s Auckland Operations Manager, Kirsty Prior said DOC takes these offences very seriously.

“There are no excuses for setting nets in a marine reserve, with those caught facing criminal prosecution. The maximum penalty for fishing in a marine reserve is a $10,000 fine or three months in jail,” she said.

The net was attached by a milk bottle float and anchor at one end and tied to a mangrove tree on the shoreline. It had caught an extensive variety of marine life including a pied shag, juvenile hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, and dozens of other fish – some of which fell back into the sea when the net was hauled in.

The Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve protects 500 hectares of the inner reaches of Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. 

“This marine reserve includes intertidal mudflats, tidal channels, mangrove swamp, saltmarsh and shellbanks. Auckland’s marine reserves are very special places and it’s up to all of us to look after them for future generations,” Ms Prior said.

DOC is encouraging anyone who knows anything about this illegal net to come forward.

“Any information received will be kept anonymous. Anyone who has seen people breaking conservation rules, such as fishing in a marine reserve or putting marine wildlife at risk should report the behaviour with as much information as possible to 0800 DOC HOT.”

In the Auckland region, marine reserves are located at Cape Rodney-Okakari Point (Goat Island), Tāwharanui, Long Bay-Okura, Te Matuku (Waiheke), and Motu Manawa-Pollen Island. All marine reserves are ‘no take’ reserves.

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